One of the best parts about the human body is that through movement, it can resemble damn near anything. Stiffen your limbs and crank your head while keeping your body straight and, boom, you’re a robot. Jump on the ground and thump your chest on the ground while bouncing up and using the floor to move the rest of your body in a similar manner and you’ve suddenly turned into a worm. Last night on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Normani, 6LACK, and a quartet of supporting dancers replicated the sway of the ocean during a sexy, earthly performance of “Waves.”
There’s no set way to act as water – it just happens. It’s an amorphous liquid, clear and fair, unpredictable and raging. But it can be sexy when it wants to be, when the winds are gentle and there are no conflicting sounds mucking up its serenity. There’s a reason that we search for seashells to thrust our ears into when we’re on the beach. We crave the mystery of the deep blue, to replicate its movements and enforce some of that immersive air that becomes easy to lose oneself in. Normani understands this and uses a sea of human limbs to bring the sea to Fallon. Her performance is simple – she stands at the microphone and lets the warm glow of cerulean-tinged lights create a landless atmosphere. It’s early morning somewhere on the Pacific and the sky hasn’t reached its peak blue; right now it’s a frosty shade of cadet. Early morning fog appears in this Fallon rendition of nature’s moving body, the stage enveloped in a thick haze that invites the viewer to become immersed.
Normani is the moon. She’s directing the waves of four backup dancers who are ripples in this body, moving their bodies freely through shakes, sways, and slow, sensual rubs that fling hair in synchrony. Every move is calculated. The mystique is radiant. Normani leans her head to the right and the women move fluidly behind her, each slightly farther right than the last. Body roll, reset, heads extend to the right. 6lack creeps onto the stage like darkness after dusk, clad similarly in all black while his voice and low eyes bring carnal energy to the ocean’s peace. It ends with Normani on stage alone, her silence amidst the fog-enveloped stage like the dim yellow of the full moon on the water. She breaks into a smile and the immersion shatters and we’re brought back to the reality of the moment when Fallon, excitedly, hurries onto the stage, beckoned by the cheers of the audience.
Normani released the similarly water-obsessed video for “Waves” in February. In January, she dropped the video for “Dancing With A Stranger,’ her collaboration with pop bad boy Sam Smith. Her debut album is supposed to be coming this year. “Waves” and “Dancing With A Stranger” indicate that it’s definitely something to watch out for. Check her out on Ariana Grande‘s Sweetener World Tour that kicks off this month.
Take a look at this illusionary performance above.